NAS Virtualisation becomes a green reality

Green initiatives have moved from something to talk about to the point where project plans are being created. In most cases, plans are elaborate and will take months, if not years, to implement.

If traditional NAS systems are not the solution to Green file services, something different is needed; a Virtualised NAS Cluster.

A Virtualised NAS Cluster allows for scaling across NAS Nodes to address performance, scalability and redundancy concerns while at the same time scaling down to provide granularity by providing virtual file servers within the individual NAS Nodes.

These virtual file servers ease the migration to and management of the Virtualised NAS Cluster.

A Virtualised NAS Cluster allows for a grid of NAS controllers to be created. Each controller is a node in this virtualised grid presenting a single point of management and control.

Virtualised NAS Clusters address the growth vectors that most Data Centres will experience. When additional I/O performance is needed because of user growth or increased data loads, simply add another node to the cluster.

That new node is now managed with the other nodes in the grid; no separate management point is required. If more capacity is required simply attach more capacity to the cluster.

The independent scaling provides maximum flexibility allowing specific growth where the need is the greatest, by itself resulting in power savings.

The Virtualised NAS Cluster should extend the virtualisation to be able to mix different node types. This allows for file systems that require greater performance to be assigned to nodes in the cluster that can deliver more performance, yet leverage the slower nodes in the case of a failure.

Being able to cluster different types of nodes also provides technology protection.

As a result of standard advances in technology, nodes will continue to get faster, more reliable and more power efficient. It also eliminates full-scale migration, critical for large NAS Clusters.

With mixed nodes, small migrations can happen over time or immediately as the more advanced node becomes available. As the NAS Cluster grows this is a key requirement. When dealing with potentially Petabytes of data, it is almost impossible to move that data to a new platform.

The goal is to achieve power consumption reductions by consolidating multiple file servers into a single, but smaller from a physical hardware perspective, Virtualised NAS environment and to do so quickly with little disruption to the enterprise.

If consolidation of file servers means redirecting all the users to a single new mount point, this will create user confusion, take time and be very disruptive to the environment.

Since the Virtualised File Services Architecture can sub-divide into multiple virtual file servers, each file server to be replaced can be virtualised into that environment.

The users see no change in the way they interact with the system. As a result, migration to the new more power efficient, virtualised environment is quicker and seamless.

A Virtualised NAS Cluster not only solves power efficiency issues, it also creates a more flexible file services environment for the users making it a go to technology for the Data Centre.

This article has been contributed by By Bob Miller, CEO of ONStor